These Rice-Wine Marinated Clams, or 米酒泡蜆, have their sweetness rounded out with ginger and rice vinegar to make a great cold plate dish.
There are many Chinese dishes, both hot and cold, that make a pairing of clams with rice wine in various combinations. This particular recipe, which also includes ginger and rice vinegar, certainly falls very much within that basic theme, and makes a terrific starter or cold-plate dish as part of a larger meal. For a similar, more Western version, you may wish to have a look at my recipe for Clams with White Wine and Basil.
The Clams used for 米酒泡蜆
The recipe calls for cooked clams, which means you can either purchase them fresh and cook steam or bake them yourself ahead of time, or purchase them already cooked.
The clams you see in the above picture (and which I have used here) were purchased cooked and frozen. I like this particular variety of clam as they have a lovely sweet taste and are a species that are not available locally (as far as I know).
You can certainly use any sort of clam you like, but the smaller, ‘hard-shell’ types, such as littlenecks, or cherrystones will work best here. As far as I have been able to determine, the type that I have used here are sometimes referred to as a ‘White Clam’ and are actually an Asian hard-shell variety, chiefly exported from Vietnam.
How to Make Rice-Wine Marinated Clams – 米酒泡蜆
There is very little to the process other than putting the clams into a mixture of Rice Wine, Vinegar, and other seasonings, then letting them steep for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Once plated, you can garnish with a slice of lemon, and, if desired, an attractive sprinkling of spinach leaf cut into chiffonade. This last addition somewhat mimics the chiffonade of basil leaf used in my Western version.
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Rice-Wine Marinated Clams – 米酒泡蜆
- 1 lb. Small *Cooked* Clams in the shell
- ½ cup Water
- ½ cup Rice Wine
- ¼ cup Light Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup Rice Vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
- 2 thin slices of fresh Ginger or 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced Pickled Ginger
- 1 large Garlic Clove
- Peel the garlic clove and give it a good whack with the side of a kitchen knife to crush it.
- Add all the ingredients except the clams into a large measuring cup and stir vigorously to dissolve the sugar.
- Put the clams into a bowl with any liquor they have thrown off and pour over the marinade.
- Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, pick the clams from the marinade and arrange them attractively in a serving dish. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.